Fantasy football is an ever-evolving community. Most of us in the community started by joining a traditional seasonal league with our buddies from work or school. Some of us evolved and advanced to more complex league settings, such as PPR, SuperFlex, and Keeper leagues. Before ultimately discovering Dynasty leagues.
Although the game itself is the same, there are very drastic differences between the redraft and dynasty formats. Especially when it comes to year-to-year strategy. See in redraft, as the name implies, you re-draft your roster from scratch at the beginning of every season. In dynasty, however, there is only one draft that includes veterans, and that is the 'start-up draft'. Every year thereafter a rookies only draft is held and is typically three to four rounds. This makes the start-up draft all the more important. It also means establishing a ranking system that you can trust is ideal.
Below I will provide a glimpse into why I have a player ranked where I do heading into the season. Most, if not all dynasty start-ups are completed now that we are less than a week away from the start of the season. Nonetheless, I want to be held accountable for my process and hopefully shine a light on what to expect from me in the future. In other words, I want Sideline Squib members to trust me. This, along with the rest of my rankings should give you confidence in my ability to cut out the noise and find true value in an ultra-competitive industry.
I won't dive into every player but rather, I'll highlight some players I am particularly high on. I want to provide a glimpse behind the curtain as to why I feel so strongly about them.
Miles Sanders: RB4
Why start anywhere else other than the player I am most bullish on.
The man. The myth. The (soon-to-be) legend. Miles Sanders.
I have him as my RB4 and quite frankly he would be higher if not for the disastrous injuries that have taken place on Philadelphia's offensive line. Losing Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks (Achilles) and starting left tackle Andre Dillard (Biceps) to season-ending injury is obviously a concern. The good news is the Eagles have Jason Peters back and have a very strong offensive line unit on paper. The concern is making it through the rigors of a full season without another injury. That could spell trouble.
If there is a running back not named McCaffrey or Barkley that I have faith in overcoming this, it's Miles Sanders. Sanders is in-line for a workhorse role both as a traditional running back and as a pass-catcher. When he was asked to shoulder the load late last year, Sanders was outstanding.
It should be noted that Sanders was in a committee backfield prior to Jordan Howard's injury that ultimately ended his season. Still, Sanders produced at a record pace.
The arrow is pointing straight up for Miles Sanders entering 2020.
D.J. Moore: WR4
First off, Steve Smith Sr. is and will always be one of the best trash talkers in all of sports. Secondly, and more importantly, is D.J. Moore is not going to get you (or Steve Smith Sr.) two fantasy points. This clip from last year highlights that the ones closest to Moore were already salivating over his talent and potential. He finished as WR16 last year in just his second season. Moore was without his MVP quarterback for much of the year and was (inaccurately) receiving targets from the likes of Kyle Allen and Will Grier. Yet he still finished in the top ten at his position in both receiving yards and receptions. Much like the rest of the Panthers offense outside of Christian McCaffrey, Moore struggled to find the endzone. Scoring only four touchdowns in 2019.
He now has Teddy Bridgewater under center and an entirely new coaching staff brought over from Baylor and LSU. Matt Rhule won the coach of the year in his final season at Baylor, where he led them to the Big12 title game. Joe Brady was Joe Burrow and the LSU Tiger's offensive coordinator during their National Championship winning season in 2019. Rhule's Baylor Bears finished 27th in the nation in scoring. While the offense coordinated by Brady led the nation in scoring.
If that's not enough to convince you that Moore is in-line for a meteoric rise in fantasy production, here is where he stacks up to his peers;
Most Receiving Yards Before 23rd Birthday:
1. JuJu Smith-Schuster (2,867)
2. Randy Moss (2,726)
3. Josh Gordon (2,451)
4. Mike Evans (2,257)
5. Amari Cooper (2,223)
6. Larry Fitzgerald (2,189)
7. Sammy Watkins (2,029)
8. DeAndre Hopkins (2,012)
9. D.J. Moore (1,963)
J.K. Dobbins: RB11
Remember how I said at the beginning of the article how redraft and dynasty are the same but different? This is a prime example. J.K. Dobbins is my #1 rookie running back, and my 11th ranked running back in dynasty. Dobbins could not have landed in a more friendly system for his style of running. A zone-read running back landing with the best zone-read option quarterback in football. A team likely to be in the lead late in ball games and needing to control the clock with sophisticated running plays. Baltimore is a match made in fantasy heaven for Dobbins. The 30-year old Mark Ingram is a likely cap casualty in 2021 and in 2020 should concede a larger role in the run game to Dobbins and Gus Edwards, who is also a free agent in 2021.
Chris Herndon: TE10
Outside of Travis Kelce, George Kittle, and maybe a healthy Evan Engram, tight ends are not their team's target leader. Though, when healthy, Chris Herndon, is the NY Jets' main offensive weapon. The Jets have brought in Breshad Perriman and drafted Denzel Mims but both are trending towards missing the start of the season with injuries. Herndon has shown the ability to make incredible athletic plays like the one you see above as well as be a safety blanket for Sam Darnold.
Targeting offenses that are projected to be in the bottom third of the league in scoring is not usually a good idea. However, when the target distribution is narrowing to just a few options I make exceptions. There is a plausible scenario where Herndon eclipses 100 targets in 2020. If that's the case he has a case for being a top 8 tight end.
Don't just take my word for it, here's what Ian Hartitz from @PFF had to say about the potential target hog.
I'll leave you with this.
Embrace the variance of fantasy football. Take some risks and don't be afraid to be wrong.
"No one remembers who came in second place."
- Walter Hagen